The Ends of the Earth by vegetables
—and the COP was firing arms from its sides all over the hospital ward, smashing into the floor and the roof as its body rose above them, now suspended. Some of the arms were giant, much bigger than the ones the Doctor had seen before, and they held the alien policeman firm as it stared at them with its eyeless head.
“Nobble nip mon burr,” it said. “Scrumpers.”
The Doctor fired ray gun blasts at some of the COP’s lower arms, but these ones were stronger than the ones from the night before. The blasts burned the arms until they glowed white hot, but they remained firm, holding the COP from the ground.
“Make sure it keeps clear of the patients!” the Doctor cried, as another arm shot from the alien’s torso, smashing hard into the wall.
“It’s not like they’ve got long left!” the other Doctor shouted.
“They’ve got long enough!” the Doctor cried. She grabbed onto a nearby arm, which was swinging and smashing round, and large enough for a woman to clamber upon. Grimacing, she slowly began to climb.
“Tibble naut caux im,” warbled the COP. “Torill bit nin gam.”
A massive metal arm burst out of its chest, flying out towards the other Doctor. Without flinching she flung herself to the side, as the arm smashed into the wooden floor where she had been.
“Long arm of the law,” she muttered, getting back onto her feet.
“Not much cop,” said the Doctor, as the arm she was on flung wildly around.
They nodded at each other slightly, acknowledging how clever they were.
“It’s nice to have someone who appreciates my sense of humour,” said the other Doctor.
“Laughing at your own jokes.”
“You don’t have to put it like that.”
The Doctor was taking out her sonic screwdriver with one hand, the other firmly wrapped round the arm of the COP. More, smaller arms erupted out of the alien’s body, swiping at the Doctor as she tried to clamber up high. Before she could react one whipped around just above her outstretched hand, hitting her sonic screwdriver to the floor.
“Indiscriminate use of arms!” the Doctor cried. “That’s definitely a violation of something.”
Below her, the other Doctor was picking the sonic screwdriver up from the floor, ignoring the swiping of several metal arms as she did so.
“You said you didn’t need a screwdriver!” the Doctor shouted.
“I don’t,” said her older self. “I just muddle through with whatever rubbish I find lying around.”
The Doctor scowled, and thought better than to say anything. She hauled her way to the top of the giant arm, to the space where the body and head of the COP were held.
“It’s funny, though!” she said as she took out her ray gun. “You with a screwdriver, me with a blaster. Walk a mile in each other’s shoes.”
“We’re the same person!” shouted the other Doctor as she repelled a slew of arms with a sonic blast. “Our shoes are each other’s shoes!”
She watched as the Doctor leaned over the head of the COP, then started bashing it with the heel of her gun.
“Or at least that’s what I’m trying to believe,” muttered the other Doctor from the floor. “That end of a gun’s not the useful one for violence!”
“Can’t risk missing. A blast could kill someone.”
“I’ll bet you use none of your tools to their full potential,” said the other Doctor as she waggled the sonic screwdriver. “I bet you’ve not even used this thing to do hypersound!”
“Because hypersound’s banned!” said the Doctor as she kept thwacking her gun against the head of the COP.
“Not in times of war.”
“This isn’t a time of war”—
“Oh, it is. I made sure of it. I wrote the conventions. This is by the book.”
“Hypersound,” said the other Doctor grimly, fiddling with the screwdriver’s innards with her nail—
—and then there was something like a silence a person could never have heard. Like if sound had become louder than sound, and just as painful, like it was filling every part of the air and the bodies in it and was solid in the pulsing room—
—and the COP exploded into a pile of goo.
The Doctor fell down from the mess onto the floor, a bit too heavily.
“That’s not the way to protect yourself while falling,” said the other Doctor.
“At some point I forgot what I knew about practical anatomy,” said the Doctor through the pain.
She got to her feet and looked at the ruined ward. The patients still alive, the live-giving machines stlll working. But everything covered in a mixture of metal and goo.
“You do realise after a fight like that what a terrible mess it makes,” said one Doctor.
“Yes,” said the other one. “You do.”
They smiled at each other knowingly.
“Y’know,” said the Doctor. “After that I feel a bit like myself again.”
“Yes,” said the other Doctor. “So do I.”
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